Following the manifold scandals involving the Catholic Campaign for Human Development comes a twofold discussion by the blog Cosmos, Liturgy, Sex — the first getting to the root of the problem, the second on the “spiritual paternity” of Saul Alinsky and Jacques Maritain (the latter post engaging Alinsky’s son in the comments). An excerpt:
. . . But herein lies the troubling question of Maritain’s Catholic alliance with Alinsky, which would serve as a model for the post-conciliar Church in the U.S. and which should call the whole socio-political strategy of the post-conciliar Church in America into question. How could Maritain not have seen that Alinsky’s community organizations, his “buffers,” were in fact ordered to becoming functionaries of the State, its repressive arms of authority? Like all American agitators whose work operates in the trajectory of Marx’s nihilism, Alinsky awaited the day when a fully socialist political power would reign in the nation’s capitol. That day has now come, of course, as Saul Alinsky’s spiritual grandchild, and his heir to control of the community organizations in Chicago, Barack Hussein Obama, has now ascended to the presidency of the United States. Community organizations and “buffers,” such as SEIU, have now become potential instruments of governmental coercion.
Maritain could not see that Alinsky’s “community organizations” were always meant to be substitute churches which were ordered by their very essence to the derogation of the proper authority of the most important of the natural and supernatural mediating societies, namely, the natural family and the Catholic Church. Maritain could only see in Alinsky’s work the coming-into-being of new guilds, along the lines of the medieval guilds, that could put a check on the greed and radical individualism that underlies so much of the practice of free market capitalism. He thought that these organizations could embody the Catholic principle of subsidiarity, so that the grave social injustices of capitalism could be held in control without tyranical federal intervention. But he failed to realize that these organizations were in fact meant by Alinsky to be stepping-stones to the advent of, and eventual workers for, a centralized power structure that would coercively bring about his dreary, ugly, a-religious concept of social justice. Maritain seems to have failed, in other words, to recognize that it is perilous indeed to make common cause with those who have rejected the religious essence of man. Social justice without a truly Christian, religious foundation is a perversion of social justice.
And Maritain’s naivete in this regard is nothing if not representative of the attitude of most of the hierarchy of the Catholic Church in the post-conciliar age.